Discussion: James Bond

With Skyfall‘s recent release, I thought it would be a good time to bring up the world-famous 007! James Bond is a film and literary icon, with an unprecedented series of film stretching from the 1960s all the way to today. And there’s no sign that interest in Bond’s adventures is waning, as each installment is met with excitement. So with this in mind:

Who’s the best Bond, and what’s your favorite Bond film?

For me, it’s easily Sean Connery. I like everyone else in the role too, but Connery is without question my favorite. He was the only Bond I saw growing up, so perhaps this had something to do with it. As for a favorite film, I’d say Goldfinger. I know, I know… it’s clichéd and quite obvious of me to go with those two, but they’re popular for a reason! I could just as easily go with From Russia With Love, a film that has only gotten better every time I see it, but Goldfinger has always been my go-to Bond fix. So what’s yours?

12 comments to Discussion: James Bond

  • I’m going to sound like an idiot here, so let me throw in some context. I’ve been a Bond fan since I was 8. I have seen each film at least 6 times some up in the area of 15 times and I’ve read each book about 5 times each. I’m a weird fan and its my favorite franchise ever.

    That being said: my favorite Bond is Timothy Dalton. I know, I know. But damn, I think he just fits the profile best. He’s most like the original character from the book and he’s less suave and more “realistic” (despite some of the ridiculousness of his films). He’s the one that laid the groundwork for Craig’s deeper and more human Bond that everyone loves. Hate me, call me stupid, but I love Dalton in the role.

    For film, I have to go with “From Russia With Love.” I’m a bigger fan of the darker more realistic Bond to begin with and this film is not only a great Bond film, but a great espionage film.

    • Hey man, don’t feel bad about loving Timothy Dalton; I totally agree with you! If you said Die Another Day and Pierce Brosnan, we might have a disagreement, though!

      Three or four years ago I decided to finally watch all the Bond movies in order. There were a couple I had never seen and it allowed me to see everything in context. I remember growing up and Dalton had the stigma of being the guy that “killed the franchise.” Along with the movies I also started reading the books (and have so far made it up through The Spy Who Loved Me). Anyway, when I got to the Dalton films, I was prepared for something horrible but I loved The Living Daylights, and it’s easily one of the best Bond films. He’s definitely closer to the novel character in that film and you’re right on when you say that Dalton laid the groundwork for Craig.

      I’m not as fond of License to Kill, but Dalton isn’t the problem with that one. And the end of that film is so incredible, with some of the best explosions of all time, so I can’t complain too much.

      And yeah, From Russia With Love is awesome. When I was a kid I didn’t care for it because it’s a little slow and more espionage focused, but as an adult that’s exactly why I love it. And that train cabin fight is one of the best non-martial arts hand-to-hand fights. Love it.

  • I won’t claim to be hugely familiar with pre-Dalton Bonds outside of those I saw as a kid, so taking that into account my favorite Bond – and my favorite Bond films – are the Daniel Craig ones.

    Skyfall opens here in Australia next week, so until I see that, my favorite Bond film is Casino Royale. I don’t know why folks put the hate on Quantum of Solace either – I re-watched it again a few weeks ago and actually really enjoyed it. It played more like a Bourne movie than a Bond movie, but it was still pretty entertaining! I forgot how full=-bore the action was. Seemed like every three or four minutes a new action sequence was taking place, and the film kept up a cracking pace.

    • Oh wow, Casino Royale! I have to admit, I was very skeptical of that film, so much so that I didn’t see it for a couple years after it came out. It blew me away, though, and is easily one of the best Bond films. They successfully took Bond into a much more realistic tone and made one hell of a movie!

      Quantum of Solace… not so much! Sorry, but I’m one of the QOS haters. The short story is actually one of my favorites, but it has nothing to do with the movie, and even Bond is a minor character in it. You’re right that the action is full-bore in that movie, but it just doesn’t feel like a Bond movie to me. I liked it more the second time I watched it (at the end of my run through all the Bond films a few years ago), but I think it lost sight of what made Casino Royale great.

  • Tough, tough question. My opinion on who is the ‘best Bond’ generally changes on a monthly basis as I re-watch the films or plough through the books (which is taking a while, as there’s thousands of them!)

    I really like Timothy Dalton (Best: Licence to Kill) and think it’s a tragedy that he only got two films. He’s by far the closest to the books portrayal and hopefully will get the Kudos he deserves in the long run.

    I grew up watching Broz (Goldeneye / TND), and he was – to that point – the perfect mixture of all previous Bonds, however, looked like he couldn’t be arsed at the end of his run.

    Moore and Lazenby can both be instantly dismissed as neither was convincingly edgy or dangerous enough to look like a killer, or capably spy.

    Leaving Connery: who – as a Scottish person – is by default the ultimate Bond… let’s just forget about Diamonds and Never say Never Again.

    I think Craig will eventually go down as the ‘Best’ Bond however, as he’s the one that’s taken the acting the most seriously, and – particularly in Skyfall – has had the best films for exploring the character.

    From reading the books, it’s also amazing to see how much Hollywood has just taken a title and stolen good bits from loads of other books! Very confusing reading one book, and it reminding you of 5 other films too.

    (Sorry for the rambling essay!)

    • Hahaha, I know the feeling of changing your mind on the best Bond! I did the same thing when I went through them all a few years ago. The books are also taking me a while to get through, but that’s more because of my reading laziness than anything else!

      It’s definitely a shame that Dalton only got two films. I was reading that he was originally going to be in Goldeneye, but because it took so long to get it off the ground he dropped out. I think fans would have been excited to see him back, but I think the switch to Brosnan there is what reinvigorated the franchise (at least for a while).

      Lazenby could have done more with Bond, I think, but I’d re-watch Diamonds are Forever any day over On Her Majesty’s Secret Service so I can’t say I’m sad he only got one film. I like Roger Moore, but I can’t argue with you on him looking dangerous or capable. He’s definitely an acquired taste, but I really grew to like him over the course of watching all the movies. Of all the Bonds, I wish he got less films, though.

      And you may be on to something when you say that Craig might snatch the Best Bond crown from Connery in the public mind. He’s damn good, and if he keeps up this momentum it’s a high possibility. I’m so excited to see Skyfall. I hope I can get a chance to see it soon. It looks outstanding.

      I noticed the same thing when I started reading the books. Definitely makes it confusing, and sometimes I want them to remake new versions of the movies with their proper book stories. They’d never do it, but I’d love to see Moonraker get a proper adaptation. I really enjoyed that book.

      • Just finished Moonraker, and totally agree, the final few chapters of that book would be a brilliant thing to see on screen. Also, was turning every page, hesitating the massive space pew pew pew battle! Thankfully, it never appeared in the book.

        • Hahahaha, yeah the book is quite different from that awful movie. And by different I mean much, much better. 🙂 That ending is pretty exciting, no doubt!

          I would imagine at some point they’d come back around to taking inspiration from the novels, although then they’d have to change and update everything to be modern. Or, maybe they could do a retro 1960s-set story. I think there’s room for a fun Bond jaunt like that.

  • Unlike most people I know, I grew up READING the Fleming novels, which were quite different than the movies. Daniel Craig’s debut “Casino Royale” was the closest to the novels for the modern audience….yet there was a predecessor to “Casino”, and that’s my favorite Bond film…and of course, I’m talking about “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”.

    Funny, my writing partner & I were talking about this last night…on Yahooo’s list of worst to best Bond films, OHMSS comes in at #3. And though many dismiss Lazenby as Bond, he’s actually pretty OK in the role. I truly believe if he were given more chances in the series, he would have more fans.

    The other reason OHMSS is my favorite film is that is has my favorite Bond girl, and that would be the incomparable Diana Rigg!!

    So, take another look at OHMSS….it’s well worth it!

    • I agree that Lazenby could have done more with the character if given the chance. He’s not bad, and he had a tough job following Connery. It didn’t help that the movie wasn’t nearly as well-made as the Connery films, and for some reason they dressed Bond in more ruffled shirts than should ever be in one film. I just can’t take it seriously with those costumes. I also remember feeling something of an Italian film vibe, which felt weird to me in a Bond movie, but maybe that was just the beach intro. I don’t remember. I’ve only seen it once, so my memories are rather vague. The ruffled shirts, the locations and the ending made an impact, and overall I remember liking it. I look forward to revisiting it whenever I decide to watch all the Bond films again. #3 Worst seems a little harsh for this one, as I feel it’s more misguided than actively bad like Die Another Day.

  • Actually, to clarify Will, OHMSS came in as third BEST Bond movie. Yes, the ruffled shirts are terrible, but it’s the relationship between Lazenby & Rigg that truly makes this film. Actually, wuite heart breaking when she dies at the end.

    • Oh, hahaha! I totally read that wrong! In any case, I still feel the same way about OHMSS. The relationship is definitely good and that ending is something unprecedented in a Bond film up to that point. Really good stuff, and I think without the ruffled shirts and a tightened runtime, it could have been even better.

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